The Verona R-7 Board of Education hired several new teachers during its May meeting. The elementary school will see seven new faces in the staff of 14 in the coming year.
Misti Yocum was hired to teach fourth grade. She is a recent Missouri State University graduate.
Courtney Mills was hired to teach kindergarten. Mills is a recent Drury University graduate who has worked as a substitute teacher.
Mari Dobyns was hired as a sixth grade teacher. A Missouri State University graduate, Dobyns taught at Aurora, Galena and spent the last two years at the Southwest District in Washburn.
Chelsea Vieceli was hired to teach high school English. She taught for the last three years at the Rolla School District.
The board accepted resignations from elementary teacher Amie Yoder and Jason Smith, who has taken a position as a credit recovery instructor at the Southwest Area Career Center.
Smith sponsored the yearbook and Student Council. Vieceli was assigned the yearbook, having done similar work in Rolla. Tabitha Farris will handle the student council.
Two students were hired to serve as custodians during the summer.
In closed session, the board voted to terminate Deborah Knotts as a custodian.
The board voted on benefits, approving to buy back sick days accumulated by employees in excess of 45, beginning in the 2012-13 school year. Teachers with perfect attendance from September through April will be eligible for a drawing to win a $200 Walmart gift card.
The board voted to increase district's portion of the monthly health insurance premium per full-time employees. The district was paying $325 of the $339 monthly premium, leaving the staff to pay the balance. Board action raised the district's cost to cover the full expense.
A high school student wanted to attend cosmetology school in Aurora. The board was asked to pay for her tuition instead of sending her to the Southwest Area Career Center (SWACC) in Monett. The board voted against the proposal unanimously.
Authorization was made to send 15 students to SWACC for the coming school year.
In other financial action, the board voted to extend its banking contract with Community National Bank. The contract periodically goes to bid and can be renewed for additional years without additional bidding.
The board approved the annual attendance report prepared by the principals. The district's 420 students surpassed the goal of 95 percent attendance, and has since 2005. During the 2011-12 year, attendance rose almost a quarter of a percent from the previous year.
Tardies remain a concern. The principals counted 1,435 tardies through May 10. They recommended providing incentives for students who do not accumulate exceesive tardies. Teachers will be placed in the hallways to promote prompt movement by students and will monitor tardies closely in the coming year.
Terry Winton, high school principal, reported on year-end activities. The last day of school included a basketball game with the seniors playing the faculty.
Superintendent Bill Sweet said the district's annual audit would have a preliminary review on June 14 and the final review in the second week of August.
District expenses rose through the year. Due to changes in personnel and conservative spending, Sweet expected finances to close the year in a strong position, with reserves still close to 40 percent.
Savings resulted from the district joining a natural gas consortium through the Missouri School Boards Association. In the last five years, Sweet said the district saved $13,558. On the other hand, Sweet said the district's electric bill rose by 13.3 percent as of the end of April.
Board members set their next meeting for June 26.